The Life and Death of Rodney King

by Marilyn Muir, LPMAFA

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Age 47 seems like an early age to die in our society, but considering the life of Rodney King, perhaps it should not come as a surprise. Well known for the severe beating he received at the hands of four Los Angeles policemen and the tragic aftermath of the non-guilty verdict for the officers involved, Rodney King made headlines for many years. What set this off? When police attempted to stop King for a traffic violation, he took off and a police chase was on. When apprehended, several police officers participated in a savage beating that was videotaped by a citizen. The savagery and severity (personal perception) of the beating was appalling. Subsequently, two of the officers involved in that beating were convicted of violating the civil rights of Mr. King and received prison sentences. However, those convictions came too late to prevent the riots that ensued from that original not-guilty verdict. Beginning a few hours after the verdict on April 29, 1992, the Los Angeles riots cost 53 lives, over 2000 injuries, thousands of fires and more than a billion dollars in financial damage.

As a result of the one minute and nineteen second beating, King had multiple skull fractures and broken bones, including an eye socket, and with severe nerve damage. This required major medical procedures and years of recovery. After the riots began, Mr. King made a public statement asking, “People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along?” This was a very dramatic statement from a severely injured man. Yes, he should not have run from the traffic stop because police chases tend to get the police all worked up. Apparently, he was afraid that a DUI stop would cancel his parole. But the beating speaks for itself. It was severe and catastrophic.

After the beating and riots, there were recovery, trials, substantial settlement, too many events to cover in this article; King had many drinking and there were also drug allegations, domestic abuse and other events, but he did make several attempts at getting clean from drugs and alcohol. I think (uneducated thinking) the long-range results of the injuries may have compromised his health and contributed to his early demise. Since I do not believe you can die before your time, what does the astrology of Rodney King tell us?

Astrology Charting

  • Rodney King was born on April 2, 1965 at 7:00 AM PST in Sacramento, CA (Rodden AA). His early life included problems with drugs and alcohol, a robbery and prison time.
  • The beating took place on March 3, 1991 in Los Angeles with the video time stamp at 12:53:53 AM PST which is considered to be accurate.
  • The acquittal of the officers was announced on April 29, 1992 at 3:09 PM from one source and 3:15 PM from another. By 3:45, a sizeable crowd had assembled and just past 6:30 PM looting had started. The riots escalated from there.

I won’t be addressing the acquittal and riot charts in this article since it deals with Rodney King, his beating and his death.

  • On Jun 17, 2012 King was found by his fiancée at the bottom of his Rialto, California home pool at 5:25 am and she called for help. Response personnel removed him from the pool and attempted to revive him. He was transported to a hospital by medical personnel where he was pronounced dead at 6:11 am. As of this writing, Rodney King’s manner of death has not been determined by the medical examiner. I watched an archived video of him swimming. He was a very capable, robust swimmer, so I question natural drowning. The charts should give us an impression as to the manner of his death.

My technique uses the natal chart, progressed to the date of the event, plus the personal diurnal chart for that event. Natal and progressions are commonly understood. Diurnals are the day chart for the event using the birth coordinates of the native. You simply enter the natal data as usual, and then change the date to the day of the event. It is a personal transit chart. My usual process is to put the diurnal as the inside chart of a tri-wheel with the natal as the middle chart and the progression as the outside chart. It is possible to reverse this with the natal as the inside chart, the progression as the middle chart and the diurnal as the outside chart. This combination allows you to look at natal, progression and transit all at one time, and to me the pertinent aspect patterns literally leap off the page. Also, for such events I prefer hard aspects with tight orbs.

Beating Where to begin… The workup on the beating of Rodney King produced so many active aspects within tight orbs that I am not able to review them all in this article. I stopped counting at 28 active aspects between the various charts. I chose instead to zero in on two critical patterns. The beating was a catastrophe to say the least. Catastrophe of all types is usually an 8th house matter, as is death. King’s natal 8th house is 8 Sag 20 containing the south node and is ruled by Jupiter at 25 Tau 46 in the 1st. Natal Jupiter is on Caput Algol, the most malefic fixed star in the sky, with the usual reading as “death by decapitation”. The beating was mostly to King’s head with multiple skull fractures, including the broken eye socket and nerve damage. After watching the video, it is a wonder that the man lived. This pattern works.

The most complex pattern in the natal chart is the Saturn opposition to Mar/Uranus/Pluto that is squared by those lunar nodes. The degrees are tight with all six positions contained from 10.5 to 15.75 degrees. This is key in both the beating and the death charts. The progressed Asc 10 Gem 12 activated that natal grand square and all six energies and the man’s life exploded. Those same planets by progression had tightened the natal pattern. The tightening effect is to make the complex more energetic. The diurnal contributes the Sun at 12.5 and Mercury at 14 Pis plus Mars at 15 Gem to both trigger and add to the complex. Closer aspects equal stronger effects. Basic life force and communication are added to the mix.

With the news coverage and the years of controversy, it is true that communication became paramount.  Prog MC 17 Aqu 20 is square both prog Nep 18 Sco 56R and natal Neptune at 19 Sco 33. The angles of the charts are key to the timing of an event. The beating diurnal Pluto at 20 Sco 21 was directly conjunct the natal and progressed Neptunes and squared by that MC.

There are two natal stelliums: Virgo, which we have just described and Aries. Sun/Venus from 10 to 12.5 and Moon/Mercury from 20 to 22.5 Aries, which also square the natal MC. Prog Mer is slightly past the Sun/Venus conjunction and is supported by diurnal Ven square diu Ura. Diu Moon squ Nep triggers the natal Moon/Mercury conjunction. The natal, the progressions and the diurnal (personal transit) positions tell the story of the beating quite thoroughly. King lived through that onslaught, but was forever damaged and marked by the experience. I do believe the devastating effect on his physical person and his psyche, along with the severe damage to his brain, could have produced long-lasting defects that would be experienced as his life progressed.

Death The progressions cluster in the 12th and the 4th houses, which signify self-undoing and the grave. Progressed Moon is approaching the 8th death cusp. Again, the progressions tighten up that natal grand square led by the prog MC 9 Pis 11. Again, the diurnal (personal transit) positions feed into and enhance that grand square. There is a spread of twenty mutable positions across the three charts ranging from 1.5 to 26.75 mutable, all conjunctions, squares or oppositions.

Tantalizing is the death diurnal duo of the MC at 10.5 Aries and Uranus at 8 Aries conj that natal Venus/Sun conjunction. To me Uranus is always a wild card. What could it contribute to our death picture? Something sudden, unexpected, out of left field (such as a stroke or fall, or electrical disruption of the heart?). Let us not forget that the death occurred in the water, with drowning as a primary or a contributive factor. If he suffered a sudden (Uranus) trauma of whatever cause, he may have been unable to assist himself in the pool. I do not believe it is common to find a person at the bottom of a pool shortly after death. In the diurnal chart, Neptune is in the death house. That 8th cusp is 16 Aqu 08 (ruled by Uranus), reminiscent of the prog MC of the beating, and setting off the natal and progressed Neptunes. In addition, another fixed star figures prominently in the death chart with the prog Sun in the 12th at 28 Tau 36, directly on the Pleiades (“something to weep about”).

To me, the natal grand square is at the core of all these charts. The natal promise of such an aspect was formidable and played out in the life as the beating and eventual death clearly reflected in all the charts presented. With such a tragic life, I sincerely hope Rodney King rests in peace.

Published on AFA In the News Online July, 2012, republished with slight editing.

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